Monday, August 6

The Immaculate Perception

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Once upon a time... Well once upon an exact time - the 1740s - the Seventh Day Baptist Community fled persecution to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and they built these things in this image. Now, here's the question. Did it simply occur to the artisans among them to nail these boards together with these shingles and stones in an entirely original way? Were they inspired by an inner voice that told them, "Stick them together like this, guys." Was their perception, so to speak, immaculate? Free from all other influences?

Or were their plans and actions informed by centuries and centuries of learning that their predecessors passed along?

The reason I ask what seems to be an obvious question, has to do with art in general and photography in particular. See, we make images which we hope to be... strive to be... original. But how many of them are immaculate perceptions? And how much of what we finally sculpt within our frames is the result of tedious, if often invisible, instruction? What have I brought to this image? Anything? Or am I delivering up generations of instruction about composition, color palette, form, shape, texture and aroma. Aroma? Okay... threw that one in. But, if there is nothing original here... Okay class, now let's discuss free will, eh?

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5),1/60 @ f/5, exposure Bias value: -0.33, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 10 mm, Date/time: 4/22/07 - 5:31 AM, Metering Mode: Average, Camera RAW


pnfphotography said...

Your images are always seem to have a creative flair to them and I understand your question. I find myself trying to make my images fit some rules that someone said they should but in the end I just do my own thing for the most part. I did shoot alot in BW but stopped when I saw that many people are not drawn to a BW image which I hope to get back to shortly. You summon up good questions ....

Bill said...

Ted, you bring something original to all your images. And this one is a prime example of that. Those saturated grasses and the way my eyes are pulled to the rock wall for example. Yours is a distinctive and unique style, a way of interpteting what you see that gives the viewer a new perspective on the subject matter in your work. It's something I'm striving for but I'm still at the experimenrtal stage. Some day, maybe.

Ted Byrne said...

(pnf) Odd isn't it, just who or what aims our cameras and clicks our shutters. The more we are in touch with the grand traditions, the more they seem to slate our ability to capture the truly spontaneous moment. I wonder what it means?

(bill) Anyone who's not been to your website (click on Bill Birch among my posted links on the main page of this site) has missed wonderfully imaginative experimentations. You are doing exactly what I worry we find difficult to do. You are finding a voice that doesn't belong to a ventriloquist.

Trub said...

Maybe it is just a matter of timing. An artist can be original when the art form is new but after it has been around for a bit of time scholarly rules permeate the canvas. There becomes a repetition of style and process. Even those who thwart the rules follow others who did the same. So I guess I am saying that originality flows into a funnel until it is finally consumed over time. That sounds too fatalistic for me. My quest is to find fresh and interesting ways to express feeling but I know it will have been done before me. To a visual artist, the ends justify the means. No matter what new tools are available to the artist, originality is defined by the observer. Either it is similar to something else or it is new i.e. original. In order to set oneself apart from others variations in presentation, technique and subject seem to be the most utilized. Is that originality? If originality is an intent why are there art schools to teach the rules? ….Ted, your missives are very thought provoking and require some internalizing to sort out thoughts….. Thanks

Ted Byrne said...

(Trub) YESSSSSSSS! I love it that great minds circle together. I'm down with your ideas. Which is exactly why I have a beef with the organic photography movment that won't even allow a post processor to call himself a photographer. SHAME!

We are living at a fantastic time for photography. We can spelunk in an entirely new cavern skipping down glowing ways that inform us of such novel things. Never before has this media been availble. Almost everything we do in here is novel. Slavish adherence to the scholastic rule book is... is... scandalous.

It is my guess that many who insist that the traditional ways are the ONLY ways... are in reality overwhelmed by the climb up Photoshop Mountain. Pity... since virtually everything involving the serious craft side of photography involves a technical climb... at least up Mt. Gearhead.

Perhaps they just don't have another ascent in them? I'll give them one thing... the opportunities of PP are not just quantitative... they are qualitative. We can now express whatever we imagine as opposed to whatever we come upon. We are now equal to musicians, playwrites, authors, poets, painters, glass makers, and sculptors.

What a wonderful time to be a photographer, eh?